The pandemic has rearranged lives and changed workplaces everywhere. And even as companies create a return-to-work strategy, COVID hasn’t disappeared. As some employees are returning to work after the pandemic’s quarantine period, companies are in search of new ways of working during COVID that both address the current stats and keep employee engagement at the forefront.
1. Reimagine the office space
One of the biggest questions many companies and employees are asking is, “How will offices change after COVID?” With the rapid shift to remote work, many employees became adapted to working from home offices and away from the buzz and activity of the traditional workspace. Even gradually transitioning back to work after COVID may cause anxiety for some who’ve become accustomed to more privacy. If you’re able, consider rearranging the office space, including bringing in mobile partitions that allow for quiet zones and increased privacy for employees. For inspiration, you can look to Studio O + A’s Home Room, an innovative design that serves as a home base for small teams to gather, store personal items, and recharge. Implementing the positive changes of remote work into the physical layout of the office could help engage more employees, particularly those who’ve become more productive in a remote work atmosphere.
2. Allow more flexibility
Flexible work weeks with both in-office and at-home days. Four-day work weeks. Part-time work arrangements. According to The Washington Post, many companies are revisiting their flexibility policies to be more accommodating to their employees, including parents with young children. Increased flexibility can help companies retain more employees and breathe new life into company culture. Consider sending out a survey about what types of flexibility your employees would like to see, then do your best to implement realistic changes that help them feel heard, appreciated — and more engaged.
3. Decrease stress and increase fun
Pandemic stress is real — and it “is seriously affecting mental and physical health,” The American Psychological Association shares. “Nearly half of parents said the level of stress in their life has increased compared with before the pandemic,” and “Gen Z adults (46%) were the most likely generation to say that their mental health has worsened compared with before the pandemic, followed by Xers (33%), Millennials (31%), Boomers (28%), and older adults (9%).” Companies should acknowledge this increase in stress and do their part to decrease it at work. This could range from implementing team game breaks to throwing virtual dance parties — anything that helps employees take a fun breather and feel more connected to one another and the company.
4. Recognize and acknowledge their achievements
A thank-you note. A gift card. An all-company shout-out. When it comes to recognition in the workplace, there is no one-size-fits-all — especially when it involves employee recognition during COVID. It’s important to acknowledge the work your employees are doing, particularly amidst unprecedented change. If you need ideas, look toward RecogNation’s solutions for every point in a career journey — from small milestones to large celebrations.
If you want to learn more about keeping the spotlight on employee engagement amidst ongoing change, talk to one of our employee experience partners today!